Windows have been shattered in the explosion, with the metal remains of the explosive device having been found at the front of the building
A COVID-19 testing centre close to the capital of The Netherlands, Amsterdam, appears to have been targeted intentionally following an explosion before the testing site opened, police have now said.
The blast occurred in the Dutch town of Bovenkarspel, north of the capital city, and happened at 6.55am, causing no injuries.
The explosive device “must have been placed” there, a police spokesman said. Windows in the area were shattered in the blast and the metal remains of an explosive device were found near to the front of the testing facility.
This comes after a hunt is currently under way for one of the first people in the United Kingdom believed to have become infected with a Brazilian variant of COVID-19 that has been described as “variant of concern”.
A security guard was inside the COVID testing centre when the explosion occurred, but they were not injured, the national broadcaster NOS has reported.
Menno Hartenberg, a spokesman for the Police force has said: “We don’t know yet exactly what exploded, the explosives experts must first investigate.”
“What we’re saying is that something like that doesn’t just happen by accident, it has to be laid.”
The region surrounding Bovenkarspel, which a rural town 35 miles (56km) north of Amsterdam, is currently suffering one of the worst coronavirus infection rates in all of the Netherlands.
The area has 181 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, compared with around 27 cases per 100,000 nationally.
At least one of the hospitals in the region has been forced to send its patients to other provinces due to a lack of space within its intensive care units.
This incident also comes shortly before the national elections are set to take place on the 17th of March, which are widely being seen as a referendum on the current government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This comes after 15 million people in the UK have been vaccinated for the coronavirus, with everyone in the top four of the UK’s priority groups having been offered a vaccine for COVID-19, the nation’s health secretary has now confirmed.
Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s conservative VVD Party is likely to remain the largest political party in the country, according to opinion polls in the nation.
Wednesday marks the first day within several months that lockdown measures in the Netherlands have began to been eased.
Non-essential stores in the country are allowed to accept a small number of customers by appointment and hairdressers and barbers can start welcoming visitors. However, a curfew from 9pm until 4.30am remains in place.
Anger against healthcare authorities in the Netherlands has increased since the start of 2021 and the head of the country’s National Institute for Health is now accompanied by a security detail when attending public appearances.